I’ve never been one to push a deadline. I’m usually the one to finish a project, assignment, or paper ahead of time. I work quickly and love the feeling of being finished with time to spare.
Sometimes, though, that’s not possible. I had mentioned in passing to my supervisor that I would love it if there was a conference in Holland, and after a few days he mentioned the Conference in Advanced Systems in Public Transport, taking place this coming year in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. We looked up the conference, and realized that an extended abstract (a summary of a paper) was due in 48 hours.
Wait what? Yes, that’s right, 48 hours. Over a weekend.
The topic we settled on was one I had read maybe one or two papers on. With a potential trip to Holland as my motivator, I got started on the research.
Let me just insert a plug here for Mendeley, a free, cross-platform reference management software. By keeping relatively careful track of my sources using this software, I was able to quickly pick up the trail of the paper’s topic. ‘Cite this paper’, my supervisor would suggest, and I would drop it into the appropriate folder. When it came time to cite, two clicks gave me a collection of formatted references. Without this software, I couldn’t have been as quick as I was.
There’s something a little thrilling about learning a topic as quickly as possible. A chain of emails between the two other authors grew, and edits and comments flew. The result?
We made it! Submitted an extended abstract for the conference. Now we wait with bated breath for an answer.
I still prefer to be a little more ahead of schedule. But every once in a while a roller coaster is a fun ride.